Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Dark Horde by Brewin

Honestly, I don't really even know where to begin with this book. There were a lot of strengths and a lot of weaknesses to this horror story set in rural Australia, and it's difficult for me to decide which are more important to me in writing this review. My ambivalence lends itself very easily to my 3 out of 5 star review of The Dark Horde.

From the publisher:
1989, rural Victoria, Australia. Something is preying upon the township of Howqua Hills. Brian Derwent, head of the local police station, must simultaneously grapple with the investigation, his disintegrating personal life and unseen forces that are not of this world.

Part thriller, part crime fiction, all supernatural horror, The Dark Horde tells of the return of an ancient evil that is neither stoppable nor comprehensible...

My thoughts:
Well, the lack of comprehensiveness of this story is very evident in its ability to create many different questions, and not provide an answer for a single one of them. This story was one that I was reluctant to read late at night, as my imagination produces very vivid dreams (or in this case, it would be nightmares), and the plot was very fast paced and interesting. However, this is one of the few books where I feel like there just wasn't enough character and plot development.

From Brian and his 'family' to Vincent and his friends to Dr. Dawson and everyone else, a very wide plethora of characters are introduced to us by Brewin. So many, in fact, that it was difficult to keep track of everyone. Especially since people kept dropping like flies once the Dark Horde showed up (you know, in the first chapter). It's hard to start empathizing with characters when everyone starts dying, you get tired of getting emotionally invested in a character just to see them crumble in the next chapter. This is a particular shame in The Dark Horde, because the characters are almost all relatable, if not likable.

I don't know, I'm not big on description and setting and stuff, which is probably why I like teen/young adult novels that are geared toward an entire demographic of ADHD individuals, but I just felt lost throughout this story. The perspective/story line changed with almost every single chapter (mostly because the character that the chapter focused on died more often than not), and it was difficult to keep track of who was alive, who was being talked about, and just what the hell was actually happening.

Sometimes, not knowing what's going on is a plus (see the original Amityville Horror if you don't agree). In this case, I just felt like it made the story very confusing and hard to truly enjoy. The conclusion especially just left me with more questions than ever. It seems like that was the point, but at the same time I just ended up frustrated that I didn't know what the hell had happened the entire story, and how the characters ended up after the book. And yes, I love getting to make my hypotheses about what happens to the characters when the book ends. But, I just couldn't in this case because I had no idea what happened. I think a little more information regarding this mysterious Dark Horde (and their relation to humanity) would have made things a little more enjoyable.


  1. Thank you for your review Justin! You are certainly not alone in your impressions but here is a link to the unreleased prologue that explains more of the back-story:

    ...I took this out from the published version for the sake of a faster start and also because it's material that I plan to use for a forthcoming concept album (and another book at some stage beyond that).


    1. Thanks Brewin!

      I just finished reading the unreleased prologue and that definitely added to my understanding and my perspective of The Dark Horde, and I think it would have been interesting to see what was going on from Henry's point of view throughout the story as well :) Of course, I feel like an entire story could be written on just Henry and his connection to the Dark Horde.

  2. Haha funny you should say you feel "like an entire story could be written on just Henry and his connection to the Dark Horde"; since this is basically what the story to the concept album is... I wanted the album and the book to tell different parts of the same story, but unfortunately the album is still some way off being released... I can send you a free copy for review when it's done sometime next year? if you're interested though?

  3. Oh, that'd be awesome thanks! I think that's a great idea, because his whole background and significance in The Dark Horde just seems like a fascinating story and I would be very grateful for the opportunity to read it :)

  4. Actually if you're interested, I can burn you a CD of the previous attempt for the concept album from a few years back (which although it has 15 tracks, all mostly complete, was never finalised/released)... I like to get the perspective of the "more critical" reviewers as I trust they'll be more honest; as it is that which helps me more to ultimately make things better, as opposed to the rave review of someone I either know or who is an "adoring fan" if you know what I mean ;)

    Send me a mailing address through whatever means convenient if you're interested to have a listen: It's basically the same concept as Jeff Wayne's musical version of War of the Worlds from the seventies (i.e. narration and lyrics set to music and telling a story)...

  5. That sounds pretty cool, I've never listened to something like that before. Where did you get the idea to put it to music?

  6. Sorry for the delayed reply Justin. The idea came from wanting to do something like Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds I guess, which hasn't really been done much since then (and that was over thirty years ago)... I also have many friends in bands that were keen on the idea, so it made sense ;)